Center News

With Mixed Emotions, the Center Says Goodbye to Preeti Hehmeyer, Who Transitions to a New Role at Stanford’s Office of Community Engagement

Preeti Hehmeyer (left), with humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson (center, as Theodore Roosevelt), and Faculty Director Bruce Cain (right), at a Bill Lane Center program in 2018.

Lane Center Associate Director Preeti Hehmeyer will take a new role at Stanford's Office of Community Engagement

On November 30, Preeti Hehmeyer, associate director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West, will transition to a new position as the assistant vice president for community engagement at Stanford’s Office of External Relations. She will continue facilitating collaborations between Stanford and local Bay Area communities, work that she successfully executed throughout her Bill Lane Center career.  Joining the Office of Community Engagement will allow her to scale these local and regional partnerships and implement them university-wide. With a mix of gratitude, pride and sadness, Preeti’s entire Lane Center family wishes her well as she embarks on an exciting new chapter of her Stanford career.

Since she began working for the Bill Lane Center in August of 2015, “Preeti has tirelessly managed and implemented a constant stream of suggested new programs and projects with patience, good humor and high professionalism,” said Bruce Cain, Eccles Family Faculty Director of the BLC. She worked closely with the Advisory Council to secure financial commitments toward a $4 million fundraising goal, which resulted in the permanent endowment of the Center’s undergraduate programs. This stands as one of Preeti’s proudest accomplishments as Lane Center associate director, as the endowment supports the BLC’s robust student internship program and highly sought-after experiential learning opportunities like Sophomore College.

Preeti Hehmeyer with daughter Kiran in 2019

Other successes during her tenure at the BLC include navigating a great deal of staff transition and budget reform, directing a large-scale website re-design, and developing a new communications strategy. In every corner of campus, with characteristic warmth and leadership, she has forged fruitful partnerships, strengthening ties with the Haas Center for Public Service, the School of Medicine and the Public Policy Program, where she taught various practicums over the years. Preeti is beloved by students and colleagues alike, and the entire BLC community will miss her.

“Preeti Hehmeyer is hands-down the most capable staff person I have worked with – and I have worked with a lot of excellent people – in my half-century-plus at Stanford,” said Prof. David Kennedy, founding faculty co-director of the Bill Lane Center, where he also serves as an advisory council member. “She miraculously manages to stay ahead of every known curve, as well as some hitherto unknown ones, and does it all with unflagging grace and charm. She has been absolutely crucial to building the Bill Lane Center for the American West, and both the Center and I will be forever in her debt,” Kennedy added.

The Office of Community Engagement is fortunate to have Preeti join their team, where she will help Stanford University create more purposeful and organized engagement between Stanford and the external communities with which the university interacts. Preeti will lead efforts to leverage the expertise and resources of dozens of diverse campus engagement hubs, including the Bill Lane Center, to strengthen and advance collaboration with external communities.

Preeti looks forward to serving the university in this new capacity, with a focus on addressing mutual challenges around affordability, education, health, and sustainability.

But she insists that she won’t forget her Lane Center home, where events, programs and courses have taken her on so many magical journeys through the West – literally and figuratively. “What other job includes an epic hike from Jasper Ridge to the Pacific Ocean?” Preeti noted, referencing the Center’s famed Stanford to the Sea event, an annual, 22-mile guided trek winding through beautiful San Mateo County parks before ending at San Gregorio State Beach. “The BLC is a true gem at Stanford,” she continued. The people, the programming, the mission – the West is home, and it always will be. I hope to continue serving the mission of the Center and replicating its success on a university-wide scale. I’m so grateful for the opportunities Bruce Cain and David Kennedy [director and founding director of the Lane Center] have given to this Cal grad.”

Needless to say, the Center is sorry to see Preeti go, but will continue to follow her growth and success as she moves from one Stanford home to another.

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